March 25, 2015 / 4:34 PM / 3 years ago

Pentagon silent on Iraq's prediction of Tikrit air strikes

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Pentagon declined comment on Iraqi President Fouad Massoum’s prediction on Wednesday that the U.S.-led coalition would soon carry out air strikes against Islamic State in Tikrit, saying the United States would not discuss future military operations.

Iraq's President Fouad Massoum speaks during an interview with Reuters at the presidential palace in Baghdad March 25, 2015. REUTERS/Ahmed Saad

Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steve Warren, however, confirmed Massoum’s official disclosure in a Reuters interview that United States had started flying intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) flights over Tikrit in support of Iraq forces on the ground.

“We do not normally telegraph future operations, so I will not comment on that. He also mentioned that we were providing ISR over Tikrit. I am prepared to confirm that,” Warren told a news briefing at the Pentagon.

Massoum stressed that Iraq was seeking a balance among Iranian, Western and Arab states participating in the fight against Islamic State, which aims to create a modern-day Islamic caliphate imposing a militant form of Islamic law across the Middle East.

Reporting by Phil Stewart; Editing by Doina Chiacu

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